Dec 7, 2023
“How will we get it all done?” may be the most commonly asked question in two-career households. Tiffany has been open about how their family depends on in-home care, but during seasons of change, it can be difficult to keep it all running.
In this episode, Tiffany is joined by Ashley Butler, founder of MySherri, a home management services company that helps free up more time for relationships in working-parent homes.
Tiffany and Ashley talk about her journey in founding MySherri, making time for stillness in their two-career households, and how Ashley learned to stop fearing success.
If you could describe your household’s day-to-day in one word, what would that word be? Text it to Tiffany at 317-350-8921
Ashley: Who are you like, who are you to be doing this right? Who walks away from, from medicine,Who makes being a doctor plan B? the fear that voice in my head. And I think in many people's heads, it is the meanest voice.
And so it's like, who walks away from that to go do this thing that may or may not work?
Tiffany: I'm your host, Tiffany Sauder. And this is ScaredConfident.
I'm here with Ashley Butler and I'll let her tell you who she is. But how we got introduced is like many, two-career families. We are always trying to figure out how to find care that helps us, and that kind of collapsed over the last couple of weeks for our family. And so I was introduced to Ashley and the service, MySherri that she has and helping working families, our families that just need a little bit more capacity. And as you really seek to like, help. People like me, people who really want a lot out of life and the ability to be able to be really vulnerable about what does it take to have the capacity to give, not just the things in your life, your time, but the people in your lifetime and Ashley, thanks for jumping on.
Tiffany: So, so how did you get here? Yeah, the
Ashley: path that I thought I had laid out, uh, is certainly not. Where I am right now. And I'm traditionally trained as a physician.
So anesthesia is, is my background. So I think that I've always sort of had a healer's heart, right. Kind of been in that role of, well, how do I help as many people as possible? And, you know, growing up the way that I did, I, I didn't have access to resources that we sort of come to, to take for granted like food or, you know, where.
Asleep at night. And the way that I saw an opportunity to, I guess, quote, escape, you know what I was born into it, it was through education. I happened to be very fortunate to be academically gifted and out of the options that were presented to me coming from an, a family with no educational background, largely it was, you know, like medicine or law or teaching.
And so I saw an opportunity then, but. As we know pads don't always go exactly like you had planned them. And so being that sort of busy physician, and I actually had a consulting business on the side because I think the thread that really runs through me is, is empowering women, whatever that looks like.
And so I had this, this little side hustle and there was an evening, one night where my husband turned to me and said, Hey, I miss my wife. And I was like, wait, what? You know, I'm doing all the things, all the things I've, I've checked all the boxes and my husband's coming to me and being really vulnerable.
And like, I don't feel like I, I live with a partner anymore. I feel like I have a roommate. And so that's where it was like, okay, pause. Something's got to shift here. And for me, it wasn't going to be my career. So, but I really valued him being vulnerable and coming to me and saying, look, I miss you. And so I thought, well, how are weekends spent?
How are our evening spent? Well, it's not quality time, right? It's it's laundry and dishes and making sure meals are done and all of these things. And so I thought, well, I'll just outsource the care. You know, I'll just, I'll just find someone and. You know, it turned out to be sort of a good luck. Where do you find quality, reliable care.
That's going to come in and do a fantastic job every single time. And that was really difficult. It was like finding a needle in haystack, but ultimately I lucked out. I found a fantastic human named Sherry and she came in and completely transformed our lives as busy professionals. But then as people who really valued the time we did.
Together because I was able to download that task list that just ate up space in my mind all day long, woke me up at two o'clock in the morning because I realized the trash had not been taken out and I was able to download it to her. She took it off my plate and I started making memories that actually meant.
Tiffany: As a young girl, you talked about not growing up necessarily in an environment that maybe naturally valued education. You didn't have parents who'd gone to college who cast a vision for you that you could see that for yourself? Or was it just in you?
Ashley: I want to say, I don't know how to explain this. I've always felt like there's a big purpose.
But I will say that a really impactful relationship that I had growing up with my grandma. She was the stability and she was so incredibly educated for having come out of the depression, having six children in a thousand square foot home that she raised as a homemaker, but she was very, very well-read.
So she didn't have the traditional education. Right. But she was. A critical thinker. And she was, you know, someone who I think saw the potential and, and fostered that and allowed me to see, okay. You know, there there's more out there. And you're capable of much more. And she built me up to have the confidence that I needed to say, you know what, I'm worth my education.
I'm going to go do that without her. I can sit here and say, I don't know. I don't know where I would
Tiffany: I think it can be difficult. I can speak from a, as a woman because I am a woman that like to claim your gifts and even you speak, you say it in a way that is really like, I think honest and easy to hear when you say, like I realized I was academically gifted, but for, for a woman to say like, I'm, I'm actually like, I'm bright, I'm smart.
Like, I, it's actually important that we like understand and claim. I think the gifts in us Do you remember different times? I don't know if there's like little stories that come to mind in your head of like, when you started to realize you were smart.
Ashley: coming from the home that I was born into. The one thing that I do feel like I was, I was given, um, was, you know, my, my dad was very, um, very intelligent, simply didn't use his, his gifts in a way that was meaningful.
But, but I think he saw that when I still had a relationship with him. And I remember. You know, I was three and I had trouble sleeping at night. So I was like a crib Escaper apparently. And like, you know, for a long period of time and what we would do even at a really, really young age. And I think the first time I sort of remember this was like three or four years old is when I couldn't sleep, we would sit down and read the dictionary.
And so I would learn a new word and then I would try to figure out how to use that word. And I remember then I realized like, That's not really what kids do. Like that's not fun,
what it was for me. And it was the thing that I felt like I had control over. I had control over the knowledge that I was able to acquire, and it was something no one could ever take. And in a world where there's so much instability, I latched on to that knowledge as I, as I could. But it's interesting when you say, you know, you you're able to claim those gifts.
I think that I still even struggle with that. You know, I was having a conversation yesterday about claiming your gifts. And I realized that I put a caveat on a lot of my gifts, right. Because I didn't. I don't want anyone to misperceive or misunderstand what it is I'm trying to share, but I do believe that gifts are meant to be shared and to be able to have a really deep impact for
Give me an example of, of where you feel yourself putting caveats on your gifts.
Ashley: It was so medicine was a big one for me. Anesthesia by nature is very male dominant. I can tell you. It was one of my very first days in residency, I had a faculty member tell me that I had three distinct disadvantages. It was that I was female left-handed am short.
I only stand five feet tall, weigh about a hundred pounds. And I said, well, unfortunately I can't change any of those things, but I can tell you, I will try very, very hard to do a good. And after that, I realized that even though I was a talented member of my cohort, I felt myself sort of putting on it.
Well, you know, this might be the plan, right? Using words to almost diffuse because you don't want to be, you don't want to come across. Actually knowing what the heck you're doing, because I didn't want to offend anyone.
Tiffany: Two things come up for me. One is I have a very young capable leader that works with me at element three. And as he was stepping into his role, I said to him, don't you ever make yourself small so that other people are. Uh, because it feels courteous. This idea of we can make ourselves small so that other people are comfortable in the environment.
And when we talk about our gifts being something that can be shared, we actually can't share something. We don't know. We own, if my kid walks in and they asked me for food and I don't know, I have a carrot. I can't, I give them a carrot. I have to actually know I have it. So there's something actually really interesting.
That we literally can't give our gifts until we intentionally know we own them. And that doesn't mean our ownership of them means that we have to be scarce in the way that we think about them. Like, we keep them. But you do have to know that you have a carrot to share it. The other thing that I just am drawn to is the vulnerability and having the courage to say, like we've turned into roommates and my husband and I have been married almost 17 years.
And we have had seasons where we both knew it and didn't have the courage to say it. And that was sort of the most destructive place to be. There were times when we knew it and we had the courage to say it and it helps you get back on track faster. The other thing I thought of is like, I think a lot of times something like my Cherie or an opportunity to be able to say, I'm going to spend financial resources so that I have time back can sometimes feel uncomfortable for people like, well, I can do it.
I can fold my laundry. I can. But I think about the places where my husband and I have, you know, taken our marriage to some places that were really hard. And how many times would I have. Say $25,000 or 10, whatever, 5,000, whatever the number is to get my marriage back. Like what would, how much would, could someone have charged me, so to speak, to get that back.
And we don't really. The time deficit in our relationships creates these tiny erosions in experience and intimacy. And it's in any day, not discernible, but over and over and over again, it becomes these great big wedges. And I think about. I'm clearly such a visual thinker, but it's like, if, if, if it's a dump truck of dirt that would fill in all of those sort of tiny erosions, how much would you pay for that?
And I think it can be hard. Uh, w when you're starting to kind of figure that equation out of like, what does free time really give me? What are those relationships, quote, unquote, worth to me? How do I find the places in our family budget to be able to afford that? And what are the trade-offs, if you need to make them that we're willing to make as a family so that we can have close relationship, but we're making.
Not folding our own laundry every single week or whatever that looks like. As you get some more experience with those peaks and values, you recognize them more quickly. And you do realize that if you don't have time together, you cannot have a relationship.
Ashley: when I think about, for us, it's sort of had become this. Like emergency, you know, for us it was, we do this or we don't, we're not entirely sure how we see a path forward because so much had filled in the time actually. Like, who are you as a person who are we as a couple? And you know, when we. We sat down and, you know, and at that particular time, when we first brought Sherry in, I was still a student.
I was not, you know, I was not the full fledged physician. I was a student paying a lot of money for my education and, and I had this consulting gig on the side. So I was working all of the time. And for us, it was look, we do have to, we have to shift some things around. Because our relationship matters and yes, this is an investment that we hadn't necessarily planned to make.
Right. It's a financial investment and it's, it's one of the things that, you know, I talk with clients all of the time about, and it's really fascinating because it's difficult for us to put a monetary value. You know, th that, the question, particularly in a lot of business owners minds as well. Okay, well, what's the return, right?
What's the return on investment? How do we measure the value? Of a quality relationship. How do we measure the value of child remembering being read to every night? Right? Because you're then not unloading a dishwasher and doing laundry. How we don't know or can put necessarily a number on the ripple effect that's created when there are quality relationships being.
But I can tell you that, you know, I think that the relationships matter and relationships are built over time because you have
Tiffany: time. Yeah. I think that, um, I appreciate your sharing, Ashley, that you sort of made this decision before you were, uh, you know, a doc you were actually like making doctor money.
Let's call it like that. I think people also like. My husband and I, his life today and say like, well, of course you can afford care. And it's like, well, way before our jobs and companies look the way we did, we chose that we've been having in-home care or other nannies or whatever for the better part of 15 years.
And we were very much making, starting wages. We were not. Making a bunch of money, but we had the prioritization as a couple that we would rather do that than have the newest clothes. We would rather do that than go out for dinner every weekend. We would rather do that than take opulent vacations. We sort of found the money to be able to do this.
And I think it is important that families listening to this, it's not waiting until your. I'll say the words wealthy. Cause I think that's the stereotype around this to do it is usually too late because the relationships have. Like you just, haven't had the time to like either build your career, build your marriage, et cetera.
So I dunno, I'm kind of putting my own probably cloak on this, but that's what I found is I think people say like, well, yeah, of course you can afford it. Now. It's like, well, it's much simpler to afford it now, but I also worked to afford it then. And we made some really practical choices as a couple to be able to F to financially be able to do that without going into credit card debt and all that kind of.
Ashley: It's really fascinating to see when we go into a home. A lot of times it's I get to meet women where they are, which is amazing. It is the favorite part of my job, which is let's have a real conversation about this. This sucks, but we are trying to walk this journey together of how do we, how do we make it a little bit better, but we definitely go into these homes and we are seen as a luxury item, right?
And then what's fascinating to me is two months down the road. I get to hear stories like, well, I needed to get a new car and you know, my husband brought up that maybe we'd have to cut my Sherry. And she goes, I will drive a jalopy before I cut my Sherry. But it's, it's really how it shifts. Where are you willing to.
To make some changes for me, it was, I will go give up the vacations and the eating out all the time to keep Sherry, right? Because she had transformed the way that we interacted, not only with each other, but with our home, our home didn't feel like this giant to-do list anymore. It was actually a destination,
Tiffany: you know?
So I don't know that we said this explicitly, but in this journey to starting my share, you left medicine. I did. Okay. So talk about that feels like, okay. Outsider and it's not like free to become an anesthesiologist, right? There's all these years. I mean, not free in the sense of it, like financially time network ego, all of the things that come with that, like I would say like elite medical environment of an anesthesiologist, like there's a lot there.
So now you're here and nobody cares that you're an anesthesiologist. I feel like that would be hard. So tell me about that.
Ashley: That was a journey for me. And I mean, if I'm being really vulnerable, you know, I, so we had started this company back in 2019, not out in homes, but the, the ideation had started. Right.
And the, the wheels going into place, but then COVID happened in March of 2020. And. I got sucked into the ICU. And, and for me, I realized that medicine is sick. Our healthcare system is very sick and there was no way I was going to be able to fix it from the inside. And I most certainly am a fixer, right.
I'm a healer. I'm a fixer. I'm all of those things. And I made the decision for my own wealth. That it was no longer serving me. And I realized, and it's been really hard, Tiffany. I'm not going to sit here and, and be like, oh yeah, no, it was no big deal. You know, I just spent 15 years of my life over half a million dollars going into this.
And I'm good. I'm not good from the sense that it was a really long journey. But there is a concept of sunk cost. And just because you're really good at something doesn't mean it's good for you. And for me, I had to walk away from something that was not good for me. And I realized that what I saw. In the, or every single day was people who had put their life on hold.
When you talk about, well, when I'm wealthy, right. It was always like, well, when we'll win, we'll win. And I realized life is really short. It is, it is really short. And I didn't want to say, well, I do X, Y, and Z. Then I'll go and start this company that I think could have a really profound impact on busy working professionals.
I decided that by forming this company, if we were able to give balance and time back to people in a way that was really meaningful, maybe they could eat better. Maybe they felt like they would have time for quality relationships and exercise and self care. The things that keep them out of the hospital from coming to see.
You know, so what I ended up doing Tiffany was basically taking that the, the core piece of me that went into medicine in the first place, which was to help heal. And I just repurposed it because we really are healing people. I have had conversations with clients who cry or who tell me that for the first time, in three years, they were able to have a game night with their kids that is here.
It may not be medicine in the traditional sense, but it serves a bigger why for me. And it allows me to, to sort of separate myself from the title and you've spent this whole long time going there, but it's not really my identity. It's, it's a part of who I am, who I was, who I will be, but it's not me. I am.
And that can take all kinds of forms.
Tiffany: That's so powerful. Do you remember the first time you said it out loud to yourself or to your
Ashley: husband? March 12th, 2021, 11 o'clock in the morning I was at the hospital and I found a colleague and I said, look, I am, I'm not okay to be here. And she said, okay, take a couple of days, you know, like have, you know, it'll, it'll be.
I walked out of the hospital that day and I never went back.
Tiffany: Wow. I have tills. That's crazy.
Ashley: I didn't know that that's what was going to happen. It's simply what happened. And I had lots of conversations, lots of very vulnerable conversations with my colleagues. And ultimately it came down to what, what is good for me?
And I put the needs of everyone in front of myself, and I realized I needed to take a step back and figure out who I am and how I can make a difference that that really fills me up.
Tiffany: So on unsecure, confident, we talk about fear. And when you're in times of stress or maybe in a transition like this, what does fear say to you most loudly?
Ashley: Who are you like, who are you to be doing this right? Who walks away from, from Madison who makes being a doctor plan B? Like, I feel like the fear that voice in my head. And I think in many people's heads, it is the meanest voice. Um, and I think there's a sense of protection there, right? I mean, I come from.
Unstable background. And so it's like, who walks away from that to go do this thing that may or may not work
Tiffany: in my own journey with fear you're when you say it's, it's the meanest voice. I mean, when we actually say out loud the things. Fear is saying to us, it's like you would never allow that in your home, in your life.
And I hear in your story that your fear statement in many ways, when you say like, no, I identify as a healer. And so I heal people and I hear heal things. I hear heal situations, I heal relationship and what's broader scope of the word, the new, and you were simply.
Tiffany: In medicine, fixing bodies. And it's really interesting to hear that juxtaposition and you clearly have been on a journey and like discovering w what about my soul is connected to this thing I'm supposed to do, even though on the surface, it doesn't make sense. On the outside. I did a segment earlier in the podcast called dear 24 year old self.
And so I'd be curious to know. What advice would you give your 24 year old self or someone who's listening who might be a little behind on the journey?
Ashley: The advice that I would give to myself at 24 is to mean into, and don't be afraid of what you're capable of. I, I took a really roundabout way into medicine because it's almost like there's, this don't be afraid of success, right.
There was almost this fear, this like the shrinking yourself, because you don't want to overwhelm people with what you're capable of. And I would say like, that's, that's BS. Don't. Do that because it's a waste of your time and it's a waste of your energy and that person that's inside of you, who's waiting to bust out is either going to come out when you're 24, it's going to come out when you're 42.
And then you're going to wish that you had let her be who she was at
Tiffany: 24. There's actually a connection. The not my mind is making. There's a scariness that comes with a stillness and a lot of the tasks of life, the tasks of being a mom, the tasks of being a homeowner, the tasks of having a big job, those tasks can become very comfortable because you.
Couldn't complete them. And there's like the score of like, how many tasks did I get done today? And when there is no stillness, you don't have to face hard things or your heart or your subconscious or your fears. And I think, and if I'm honest with me, myself, about my own journey, I know there were seasons where those tasks were my version of alcohol that like numbed away.
Things, I just didn't want to have the time to deal with. And honestly, they get a lot of praise when you get a lot of crap done. It's like, people think it's great. It's like this weird drug actually. And I'm just thinking through this right now, but even the idea of handing that stuff over, like we talked about to somebody like a home manager or my Sherry, there's something like it's kind of giving up a drug a little.
And stillness and relationship. I think for many of us and really high performing homes is actually very uncomfortable and the busy-ness is the most comfortable place, but there's an emptiness that comes with it too.
Ashley: I am convinced that the universe can, you know, it just, it sends out little lights.
Right. And it's up to us to sort of see the light and we connect the lights. Okay. I just journaled about this during my own stillness practice, which by the way, I really struggle with, because when you just give yourself that space, sometimes it gets really uncomfortable. You get really uncomfortable with your own thoughts occasionally, right?
When you give yourself that opportunity. And I just journal about this and what I wrote today was that I am. I am addicted to achievement and the fidgetiness that I have when I'm not being productive is my withdraw.
Tiffany: I feel
Ashley: it's okay. Right. It's you have to fill yourself back up. You have to take care of yourself or you cannot give to anyone.
Tiffany: I think it feels strange as an adult to like, admit to yourself, you don't actually know how to do that. Like, you don't know how to fill yourself and it's for all kinds of reasons. I understand. It's it's interesting. My husband, I had our last, our last, let me say it again. Our last child, our last child, everybody together.
And there's something about. The completeness of your family, knowing we're not going to go through the cycle again, of adding another kid, the big adjustment that happens, me being pregnant, me being then immediately not pregnant and the change that comes in my body and coming together. And there's these cycles that like take an enormous amount of relational capacity.
And when you come back together, everything is different again. And when you don't. Find the time, make the time force, the time to re knit together, this sort of new components into a thing. Everybody like loves them, wants to be a part of it's. I liked just reflected on that over the last couple of weeks.
It's like, it's I understand why you sort of lose a sense of yourself. Like, what do I love? How do I recharge? What, what do I want to do? Because you don't actually get to think about it that much. What's fields like a bad Trek, because as a kid, you think grownups get to do everything that you want to do.
And then as a grownup, you don't even know what you want to do. And it's like so weird. It's so weird. I don't have an answer for it, but it's so weird.
Ashley: It's also a part of our human experience. Right. And I, I think the. The most profound thing that we can do at this point, because I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I do believe in giving this feeling and this unease of voice and bringing it out into the light so that we can talk about it.
I mean, just like you said, like the most unhealthy. You know, time in your relationship is when you know you and your husband understand there's a problem. And no, one's willing to talk about it. Look, we know, particularly as women, we know we have a problem and no one's talking about it. And so what, what I'm most excited about, I didn't set out to be having these conversations.
If I'm being really honest with you, I thought I'm going to build a company that gives more balance to women, and I'm going to take care of my. That's it. That's what I thought I was going to do. And instead, what it's turned out to be is I'm going to have really amazing conversations with women and we're going to start to transform the, the narrative.
Right. And because we're going to say it out loud and then we're going to say it's it's okay. It's okay. That these thoughts are happening. But we understand that there's got to be a better way, so let's find it together. Okay. Love it.
Tiffany: Ashley. You're on a really special journey. I'm excited that we got to talk about a little bit today.
If there's anybody listening who would like to know more about my Sherry that's in the Indianapolis area, what's the best way for them to get in touch with you?
Ashley: Yeah. So you can visit email@example.com share. Dot com or find me on LinkedIn. I'm Ashley, my Sherry. So,
Tiffany: and how do you spell my Sherry? Just in case, I don't know.
Ashley: Y S H E R R. I,
Tiffany: I encourage you to do the work, figure out if you made the decision that you have. To make it happen financially. What would you do? It changes the question of, can we, versus if we had to, if, if it was medical bills you had to pay, what would be the decisions that you would make as a family to make it work financially?
Again, you might again, not end up doing it, but it reframes it for me. It has all the time of like, if I had to, how would I think about it? How could I make it happen? And. It might not be the right thing for your family, but for us, having help has created more free space so that we can have closer relationships as a family.
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